5 Benefits of a Voice of the Customer Program
Nearly 90 percent of companies are going to use customer experience to compete with each other. Since an increasing amount of CEOs are starting high-growth companies with a customer-focused mindset, you want to make sure you don’t fall behind.
“Customer-centric” is a mindset and management style rather than yet another business buzzword. Customer experience is being prioritized by leading companies like Zappos, Southwest Airlines, USAA, and Nordstrom — and with good reason. Managing feedback effectively and consistently fosters better business results and produces continued success.
Customers in nearly every market are simply more informed than in the past — over 80 percent of consumers conduct online research before buying. With the majority of consumers preferring this DIY-research pre-purchase method, it makes good business sense to focus efforts on creating and sustaining a delightful experience post-purchase and beyond.
The Bottom Line
Amazing and consistent customer experiences lead to favorable feedback. This leads to happy clients, increased revenue, and higher retention rates.
Is Your Business Ready?
It’s always best practice to gauge the readiness of your organization. Keep in mind that the message you’re sending your customers with establishing a program is highly contingent on how quickly you act on the data and information they provide. The faster you act on the information, the happier the customer. It tells them you are actively listening to their feedback.
In an era where we are saturated with information and data, strategies to cut through the noise are fundamental for long-term business growth. The insights provided by a customer-centric program are designed to specifically capture feedback that will directly improve your products and business. It is the most efficient means of staying market relevant.
What Are the Top 5 Benefits of VoC Programs?
Benefit #1: Service Improvement
Use real customer opinions to boost existing services and communication strategies. Basing any changes on actual expectations improves overall customer satisfaction.
It may have taken Nordstrom over a century to become the right hand to providing great service, but many look to them today as the leading success story in using customer feedback to improve service. Here are some details they have learned to incorporate over the years:
- A Nordstrom salesperson rarely points at items. They are more likely to walk a customer to where the item is rather than directing you.
- When a customer completes their purchase rather than handing their bag over the counter, the Nordstrom employee walks it around the counter and hands it directly to the customer.
- If you call Nordstrom, you will get a human being in less than two rings.
Benefit #2: Brand Management
Deeply understand how customers interact with, perceive, and understand your brand. With a constant pulse on your brand status, you can keep its reputation in good standing and increase customer loyalty.
Provide a direct line of communication that is monitored and well-managed. This decreases the likelihood they will take to your brand’s public social media channels to express frustrations, which can be highly damaging to your reputation and public appearance.
Benefit #3: Product Development and Innovation
By listening to your customers, products can adjust accordingly. You can use this feedback to grasp new trends and future development.
Developing products with a clear understanding of exactly what your customers want and are willing to pay for is crucial to success or failure.
Let’s take a look at two examples: Porsche Cayenne and Chrysler’s Dodge Dart. Both models were launched in the early 2000s, yet we likely only see one of these still on the road in the latest offering: the Cayenne. Why?
The product team over at Porsche underwent exhaustive customer research and surveyed target customers on every single feature the car might possibly have and gauged their willingness to pay for it, Harvard Business Review reports. With Cayenne sales of around 100K vehicles a year, it’s a great example of getting the product right by tapping into those who will eventually buy it.
But yet, the story changes for Chrysler. They were trying to target an entirely new segment of buyers with their reintroduction of the Dart, a model from the 1970s. They went from product development straight to engineering, totally forgetting that the car should be defined by its end-user, not by the company. The only thing the Dart is now known for is being one of the biggest product flops of 2012.
Benefit #4: Marketing Efficiency
Your customers are your best form of marketing. If they’re happy, they will shout from the mountain tops. Nurture these relationships, so they are at the center of marketing efforts.
It’s been said that marketing and customer service go together like peanut butter and jelly.
You rely on your marketing team and their efforts to bring in new leads that convert to long-time loyal customers. Connecting those tactics within existing customer relationships creates a higher chance of getting returning business — between 60-70 percent of a chance.
Integrating customers in every marketing effort is the best form of marketing any company can ask for. Getting your loyal customers deeply involved in marketing campaigns, your company’s blog, case studies, testimonials, or videos helps gain new loyal customers. Remember, potential customers trust existing customers to tell them the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Benefit #5: Marketing Fit
Listening to customers helps you understand how effective your go-to-market strategies are. VoC provides you with deep insights into the adopter stage and the demographics of your target markets.
Connecting this benefit with benefit #4 (Marketing Efficiency) can be seen as constantly testing the waters to see if they’re too hot, too cold, or just right. Launching a new feature or entirely new product to a group of beta customers allows you to get early-on feedback. It tests how effective (or not) your strategy is for hitting the right market at the right time with the right product.
While Voice of the Customer Programs seems like a lot of work, they can be customizable and scalable to meet your business needs. And when done correctly, it can mean a world of a difference when distinguishing your company from the competition.
Grow Love & Loyalty with iLoyal CX
The iLoyal CX program provides you with a clear visualization of your customer journey, customer-brand touch points, and physical and digital customer experience environments.